The Cottage Smallholder

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How many eggs does a chicken lay an hour, a day, a year?

first egg of the yearIf only there was a standard answer.

We often are asked this question. Danny reckons that it’s school children researching a project. I suspect that it’s grown up chicken owners that are gradually being driven crazy by the fact that their point of lay chickens, bought six months ago, have never ever laid an egg.

I’ve been there. We bought six hens, expected six eggs a day, promised eggs to our nieghburs. Five months later we collected our first egg.

Apart from our nifty little plastic hen that sits on the table at Easter and obligingly crouches to lay a small chocolate egg each time you press her back, real hens lay on a cycle of roughly a day at best. These are the hens that are bred to be layers. Our Pekin bantams are not great layers but, like Mrs Boss they go broody easily and can be great mothers if you want to breed. If you don’t want to breed and just want your hen to lay eggs this can be a nightmare. You can find out how to get over the problem of a broody hen here.

Perhaps it’s because we grew up on fairy stories that we expect all our hens to lay at least an egg a day. A golden egg would be good too, every now and then. Our hens tend to go off lay from October to January. It’s a very long break. This year it began to seem like an extended famine. Both my patience and the arm that lifts the lid of the nesting box were easing towards repetitive strain injury. This morning I nearly didn’t bother to look – the empty nests are so disheartening.

But, ever the optimist, I took a peek. Carol had laid a long brown speckled egg. I plucked it gently from the nest and rushed back to the house to announce the good news.

The first egg of the year is always a delight, almost as good as a golden egg and far more tasty.

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  1. Many thanks kev.

  2. Hi
    I have a maran sat on some duck eggs at the moment,just wondering if anyone new if she manages to sit long enough to hatch them out will i need to remove the chicks out of the coop or will they be safe with my other hens and ducks.
    cheers kev.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Kev

      Your broody and eggs should ideally be removed to a safe place away from the other fowl before they hatch out.

  3. Patricia

    I have a hen that is laying two eggs at the same time. Why would that be, I have not seen that befor

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Patricia

      I have no idea how and why this happens.

      You are very lucky indeed!

  4. hi chaps,
    ive just been sitting n my hammock down here in sunny suffolk whilst listening to a commotion in the nesting box, my hen Gloria went in half an hour before hand and when she came out 5 minutes i’d sat down two warm eggs had appeared in the nesting box which was empty (i think!) before hand. can chickens lay two eggs in one sitting?
    many thanks, Harry

  5. Thanks that is what we were thinking, looks like another trip to melton market then.
    cheers kev.

  6. Hi
    Just had a duck taken by the the local ginger bouncer i wonderd if anyone any one could tell me if it is ok to introduce another younger duck to my last duck and 4 hens.
    cheers kev

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi kev

      It would be probably be better to introduce two young ducks to the flock as one would be picked on.

  7. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Clarky

    Yes the egg is edible. Also the shape is nothing to worry about. Very young hens and very old hens lay funny shaped eggs sometimes.

    Make sure that they have access to grit and oyster shells and fresh water every day.

  8. hi everyone we have 3 lovely girls that are 22 weeks old barbara (white star) willow (goldline) and finally margo (speckledy) barbaras been laying a week now and willow layed her first one today, i collected the eggs this morning and later checked to see if margo might of obliged when i found another egg(smaller and a bit flat on oneside) belonging to barbara! is this normal? and are eggs like these edible? many thanks

  9. By the way ducks are laying again hooraa

  10. Many thanks will try, looked on forum but got conflicting answers.

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Kev

      I looked into it too and got conflicting answers. A call to the vet might be your only option. I reckon that the hen needs antibiotics urgently.

      Really pleased that the ducks have come into lay!

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